From being surrounded by seven mines to its strategic location in the Erongo region, the mining town of Arandis is linked by air, road, rail and a logistic hub making it Namibia’s source of hope. That is if recovering from the economic crisis is anything to go by, Arandis mayor Risto Kapenda said.
Speaking to The Patriot at the launch of the fourth Arandis Investment Conference and Uranium Festival, Kapenda branded Arandis as the “centre of investment in Namibia”.
Arandis is founded on three pillars: excellence in education, excellence in industrialization and excellence in tourism.
When asked what the town has to offer for Namibian youth, who in most cases feel neglected, Kapenda retorted: “The Namibian Institute of Mining and Technology (NIMT) is headquartered in Arandis. You can see that there are students who are quitting Unam in favour of NIMT because the majority of people who are graduating from NIMT are immediately absorbed by the industry whereas at other institutions, they are not easily absorbed in the market place.
Kapenda said NIMT will soon add a faculty of hospitality on its radar in a bid to cater for more young people.
He went on to say the town will soon embark on a major assignment which includes constructing a state-of-the-art hospital in order to address the high youth unemployment levels.
To achieve this dream, Arandis will partner with Portuguese-based firm, Grupo Isidoro in a Public Private Partnership (PPP) format, he said.
Upon its completion, the hospital will offer training for nurses and medical practitioners up to doctorates level said an optimistic Kapenda.
According to Kapenda, the hospital will be a centre of medical excellence and hopes that Namibia’s regional counterparts will make use of the health facility.
“We are not only targeting Namibians. We are targeting SADC. We do not want to see a president in SADC being flown to Portugal, France or Singapore when they are sick…or China. We want them to come to Namibia, to Arandis. We will have a facility where a helicopter can land,” a clearly ambitious Kapendah noted.
The hospital should be up and running by October 2018, he added.
Another pull-factor for the youth is the affordable housing and efficient land delivery system, he said.
The average house prices ranges from N$64,000 to N$600, 000, an affordable rate when compared to other Namibian towns.
According to Kapenda, the town has embarked on constructing a modern logistic hub and will soon avail 22,000 plots for business purposes.
More so, the construction of an emergency centre is underway and will aid in the fight to reduce road crashes on the accident-prone Usakos and Swakopmund road.
As part of a partnership between the town and Ohlthaver & List Group, according to Kapenda, Arandis now has a 3 megawatt solar power plant that supplies electricity to the residents at an affordable rate.
Speaking at the same occasion, Information and Communication Minister Tjekero Tweya said Arandis’ proximity to the Western Africa Cable System (WACS) makes it an ideal location for data farms and other clean technologies. As a consequence, the Arandis Town Council established the Techno Park to accommodate data farms.
Giant companies such as Microsoft and Facebook have already shown interest in securing their data at the Arandis Techno Park, pending approval from regulatory authorities.
Tweya said Namibia’s peace and stability are chief among the factors that make Namibia a suitable destination to secure data, hence the interest by Microsoft and Facebook. Echoing Tweya’s words, Kapenda said: “Security wise, we are the most secure town in Namibia. The crime rate here is less than 2%.”
The investment conference will see the town of Arandis open its doors investors to come and see for themselves the type of investment opportunities that the town has to offer. The conference will focus on what Arandis can offer in terms of becoming a centre for renewable energy and ICT initiatives, Tweya said.
“This festival will offer networking for potential investors in these industries and an opportunity to showcase their product and network for further future business prospects,” said Tweya, who is also the festival’s patron. The Arandis Investment Conference start on 10 November 2017, in Arandis.